Britain Becomes 74th Country to Join Safe Schools Declaration
Britain’s announcement today that it is backing the Safe Schools Declaration is as important as it is timely. The Declaration, in which governments pledge to not use schools for military purposes and to protect them during military operations, has now been signed by 74 countries, including the majority of NATO and EU member states.
Human Rights Watch and others have championed this declaration because in too many armed conflicts around the world, schools are attacked or used for military deployments. Rebel groups and government forces have bombed and shelled schools and universities. Many schools have also been turned into military bases or barracks. The presence of fighters puts students in the line of fire, makes them vulnerable to recruitment as child soldiers, and leaves girls at particular risk of sexual violence.
This phenomenon has had a hugely negative impact - deterring and preventing vast numbers of children, especially girls, from getting an education.
The Safe Schools movement sends the message that all schools – no matter what’s unfolding around them – should be a place of safety and sanctuary.